The findings of a large-scale archaeological investigation, conducted from 2009 to 2013 at a site in the vicinity of Antirrion, Western Greece, identified with ancient Makyneia, provides interesting information on the architectural features and urban planning of an ancient settlement in this area of mainland Western Greece. Through an interdisciplinary study of its morphological and technological characteristics, water management problems and solutions can be revealed by the water management infrastructure (waterways, water reservoirs, drainage systems, etc.) as it has been documented during the excavation, An interesting question to investigate is whether water management systems of the ancient settlement represent sustainable techniques and principles that can still be used today. To this aim, the functioning of the systems is reconstructed and characteristic quantities are calculated both for the potable water system and the drainage system.
INTRODUCTION – GENERAL OUTLINE
This site has been identified as the site of ancient Makyneia, an originally Lokrian, but subsequently Aetolian city (Woodhouse 1897, pp. 326–331; Lerat 1952, pp. 189–191; Κolonas 1994; Freitag et al. 2004, pp. 379–390). The section of the city that was excavated extended to some 4,190 m2 in an area overall measuring 32,000 m2 on the south slope of ‘Kokoretsa’ hillock (altitude 253 m) and delimited by two water streams to the east and west. There were indications that it also extended at least northward, but the excavation was limited to the area of the roadworks under construction.
Buildings were constructed with roughly worked stones of local, brittle sandstone, while in certain instances rock boulders have been incorporated in the construction. This practice was primarily occurring during the Hellenistic phase, when roof tile fragments were also plugged into walls. By contrast, walls of earlier phases were more diligently built and compact. Wall height preservation reached a maximum of 1.80 m. During the later phase of the Hellenistic settlement, sizeable clay bricks were used in an ancillary way, as is also the general practice in other settlements in the Northwestern region of Greece (Hoepfner & Schwandner 1994, pp. 161). Layers of burnt bricks have been discovered in at least one building, whereas the roofs appear to have been made of Laconian – type tiles. Thresholds, columns and the overall structural elements of the houses were hardly elaborate, and we assume that they were mostly made of wood; no limestone decoration or colored surfaces were traced.
EVIDENCE OF WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE SETTLEMENT
From the above general and short presentation of excavation data, it is hopefully obvious that the topic of this presentation is a settlement without any exclusive features or architectural innovations, one that made use of elementary principles of urban and architectural planning in the different periods of its existence, but also in accordance with the features attested in other settlements in the wider region (Hoepfner & Schwandner 1994, pp. 158–161). The presence of two water streams at its eastern and western edges, as well as the short distance from the south side of the settlement to the sea (nearly 600 m), rendered the location ideal for the installation of a habitation nucleus.
The present paper includes a number of selected, characteristic examples of water management structures and implements from the site of Makyneia, which will serve here as a case study for water management problems in Western Greece during the historical periods previously specified. As has been already suggested, the town plan was to a large extent dependent on its position on the southern slope of a hill. For this reason it has been necessary to take measures against eventual landslides coming down during the winter on account of heavy rainfall, by reinforcing the northern walls of buildings with retaining constructions. To this day, during the winter rainfall small waterways are created between buildings, while water makes its way downhill. Therefore, ground morphology and waterways, as has been documented during the excavation, must not have been very different in ancient times. Apart from this, a number of other structures relating to water management, both drinking and wastewater, have been discovered. These are mainly internal and external drains, water reservoirs, water wells and irrigation wells.
Therefore, starting with the drains, the instances of buildings Delta, Heta and Ro, which date to the Hellenistic period, will be described; drain systems were discovered in these buildings, relating to the use of certain rooms, or, more generally, to the use and water management in their interior.
The drains in various rooms of Building Delta were constructed with vertically placed slabs and were covered either by roof tile fragments or by more roughly worked slabs; they were preserved in relatively good condition. They exhibited varying lengths, with the longest one measuring 15.15 m, whereas their width was usually 0.30–0.45 m. They were relatively shallow, and therefore they were meant to carry away small quantities of water. It is suggested here that they could have drained rainwater from the road on the north side of the building inside Building Delta through its north wall.
Three wells were discovered in the excavated part of the settlement, all located in its eastern sector and dating to different periods, as indicated by the buildings to which they were connected: two of these date to the Hellenistic period and one to its preceding Classical period. They were all stone-lined, well-built and well-preserved, it is not however certain whether they were wells, i.e. if they were constructed around natural water sources in antiquity, or if they functioned as cisterns for collecting rainwater.
The first well, dating to the Hellenistic period, was situated on the north-west side of the Tower (Figure 4) and most likely serviced the needs of the building's residents. In order to facilitate smooth water drainage towards the interior of the well, the area around its opening had been covered with a water-impermeable floor, constructed from small pebbles and reinforced through coarse, hydraulic lime mortar. Only a few segments of the mortar floor were preserved. The floor was inclined towards the well opening. The limit of the pebbled floor was set through roof tile fragments laid horizontally and covered by mortar, as the few preserved sections demonstrated. The well's opening was constructed of stones, and also its interior was dressed with local sandstone. It had a diameter of 0.60 m and its excavation reached a depth of 2.90 m. North-east of the well, a bathing installation was uncovered in a courtyard, as is the case in Delos, Leukas and Komboti in Akarnania (Saranti 2015).
An overground water reservoir made of ashlars, rectangular stones measuring 3.60 × 2.00 × 2.50 m, was discovered on the south-east side of the well, which had a maximum capacity of about 28.8 m3 (Figures 6 and 15). The slab joints in the interior of the reservoir were covered by partially preserved hydraulic mortar for optimal insulation. Access to the reservoir, in all probability for maintenance and cleaning reasons, was facilitated through a permanent stone staircase made of five steps, located in its south-west corner. Judging by the layer of collapsed roof tiles that was found inside the reservoir, it is most likely that it was protected by a tiled roof and that this water tank served as a collector of rainwater through the roof. At the east side, the opening was probably shaped in order to facilitate water overflows.
The reservoir was connected to buildings and constructions that date to the 5th century BC. Nonetheless, there is nothing to exclude its use also during the Hellenistic period, when the settlement grew bigger and the water supply needs also increased. In fact, it is probably not accidental that two pottery kilns of this period were located nearby, since water was absolutely necessary in making pottery.
The sector of the settlement with three wells, the reservoir and a notable number of internal and external drains overlaid a water stream called ‘Haloul-Aga’, one which continues to flow until this day. It has abundant water even in the summer and forms small waterfalls in the winter further north. A modern watermill, nowadays abandoned, lay at a short distance to the northeast of the site of the ancient settlement. The position of the Tower in the same sector cannot be irrelevant to the water stream, which, already since the Early Hellenistic period, was a reference point for the site's inhabitants. In the Classical period, this sector speaks for central planning and organization by a larger group of people other than at a household level.
At the western edge of the excavated section of the settlement the second water stream (‘Nyforema’), a considerably smaller one than its eastern counterpart, can be found, also flowing until this day. Through a path running along its eastern bank, there was easy access to the acropolis of the city (Saranti 2013). In this sector of the settlement, buildings of the Classical period were uncovered.
GEOLOGICAL AND SOIL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SETTLEMENT
From a geological perspective, the area of Makyneia belongs to the zone of ‘Gavrovo-Tripolis’, which is inserted between the Miocene Ionian zone and the zone of ‘Olonos-Pindos’. It is characterized by large-scale displays of flysch and carbonate parts. These appear northwards, on Mount Makrynoros, and southwards, on the hills of Klokova and Varasova. The Upper Cretaceous limestones constitute the lower display area of this zone and consist of light ash and yellowish colored, layered limestone that become locally dolomitic. Their thickness is of a few hundred metres.
The Eocene limestone is platy limestone with a very limited display (Laboratory of Environmental Geology of the University of Patras 2014).
According to a geological map of the area (Lekkas 1997), the region is situated marginally between formations of side scree and cones of scree (water permeable formations of very low permeability) and flysch (semi-permeable formations of low permeability).
In Appendix 1 (available with the online version of this paper), hydraulic calculations are given in order to estimate the quantity of rainwater that was in the inflow into the town and whether this quantity could be drained by the central stone drain.
From the hydraulic calculations, it has been derived that during an extreme flow (with a return period more than 250 years) flood, the stone drain could not be efficient enough to drain the rainwater from the upwards hill.
Thus, obviously, various corrective interventions had been made firstly to protect the town and secondly, to recharge the aquifer (wells and reservoir, due to the lack of wells or other pipeline downwards in the city), in order that the water could be pumped during arid days for various uses.
From the calculations in Appendix 2 (available with the online version of this paper), it has been revealed that these water wells and reservoir infrastructures would be sufficient for less than 50 inhabitants who lived in this area. It can be assumed that the water supply of the city might be satisfied with the use of additional water sources, such as springs and the two small rivers.
All in all, this calculated carrying capacity would have effect only if there was a feedback for the reservoir and the wells from a steady water fountain.
This has not become clear from the archeological findings, thus, a critical statement can be claimed, that the reservoir, along with the other wells, played the role of a water reserve for arid days or even worse, for the difficult days of warfare when, for instance, the town was under siege.
The low water permeability properties that are present in the region, as has been mentioned here above in section C, limit the infiltration of rainwater, and thus recharging the aquifer is not easy.
This fact might be an explanation for the already mentioned presence of many structures such as reservoirs, wells, etc., since a soil of low permeability acts as a geological barrier. This barrier causes the creation of an overhanging aquifer in the depth where the geological barrier is identified (Mylona & Xenidis 2010).
Therefore, it can be alleged that the many existing structures were acting as an overhanging aquifer, while the free disposal of rainwater by the great stone drain tended to make efforts to recharge the aquifer, despite the low water permeability.
Here it must be taken into account that probably, in the past, there might have existed a larger annual amount of precipitation. Concerning the period 1962–1993 in the vicinity of Nafpaktos, the annual amount of precipitation was about 830 mm (Mariolakos et al. 2001), while the surrounding area of Western Greece has always presented, until today, an annual amount of precipitation comparatively larger than in the rest of Greece.
Nevertheless, the amount of precipitation should be generally estimated to be the same as today, if not more, as mentioned previously, since it may be reported as an informative element that in ancient Athens the annual amount of precipitation was 400 mm (Krasilnikoff 2013), a quantity that is very close to the current average annual level.
From all that has been mentioned above, it is obvious that the town of Makyneia is an interesting example, from an interdisciplinary point of view, not only because of the successive phases represented in the residues, but also because of its spatial elements, combined with its infrastructure projects, with particular emphasis on the water storage system and the sewer system.
The evidence laid out previously with regard to water management in the settlement of Makyneia shows clearly that the inhabitants were diligent and cautious in the matter, and that the choice of the site was far from a random selection, but on the contrary one offering convenient access to water sources. Despite the relative simplicity that the buildings exhibit, especially during the Hellenistic period, its water management system demonstrates characteristics of solid planning and communal organization otherwise absent in other levels of community life, with the possible exception of road construction. The lack of more wells or reservoirs in the settlement, in contrast to other settlements in the region that had reservoirs in their courtyards, could be indicative of potable flowing water in abundance and sustainability, on account of the site's proximity to the two water streams. In any case, it seems that the basic principle of water supply was to utilize all the available exploitable water resources with the least physical effort, according to the general manners of ancient Greek water management (Crouch 1993, pp. 312–317).
It is also evident that there was provision and care for the disposal of waste and storm waters through drainage channels inside the houses and in public areas, which could be possibly reused for irrigation purposes. On the other hand, clay pipelines are surprisingly completely lacking, a fact that shows that fresh drinking water was mainly provided from the wells or the two nearby streams. Additional water may have been supplied by large ceramic containers (pithoi) standing in courtyards and used as rainwater collectors in the manner well known from many ancient Greek cities.
Water management requirements obviously affected the architectural form of the houses, since a network of built channels following the natural ground inclination was in most cases necessary in order to lead rain and wastewater away. Also, cisterns and wells were adapted in houses' plans and adjacent to places were water was mostly needed.
Considering the water storage system, it has been found that serious efforts had been made through the infrastructures to ensure a storage capacity for water on the basis of a sustainable philosophy. As it concerns the sewer system, it can be alleged that due to the wrong initial design and estimation of the carrying capacity, a number of construction operations had been made over time to render the whole system sustainable, since the idea of sustainability was diffused in the constructions of the ancient Greeks (Kollyropoulos et al. 2014, 2015).